About this Show

Erin Burnett Out Front

News/Business. Erin Burnett. (2012)

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CNN

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01:00:00

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San Francisco, CA, USA

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Comcast Cable

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Virtual Ch. 759 (CNN HD)

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mpeg2video

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ac3

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1920

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1080

TOPIC FREQUENCY

U.s. 18, Us 10, America 8, Syria 7, Washington 6, Seattle 4, Boehner 4, Noah 3, Cnn 3, Fran 3, Soledad O'brien 3, Bill Clinton 3, United States 3, Tom 3, Doug 3, Obama 3, Israel 3, Cambridge 3, London 3, Colorado 3,
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  CNN    Erin Burnett Out Front    News/Business.  
   Erin Burnett.  (2012)  

    December 7, 2012
    8:00 - 9:00pm PST  

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but she also lived in vegas for 11 years. >> red flag. >> she's funny, but not funny like ha-ha. funny like, yikes. >> red flag. >> i've said it before, i will say it again. kristen wiig is a genius. i generally shy away from telling fast food restaurants how to run their perfume business. but pizza hut canada, get your act together. get a celebrity, throw together some commercials and get this in the stores as soon as possible. i've got some christmas shopping to do. that's it for us. "erin burnett outfront" starts now. "outfront" next, john boehner says the president is slow walking to the edge of the fiscal cliff. but the house speaker did give us one flash of hope if you listen to his words very carefully. the u.s. is updating its military plans against syria as
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new intelligence shows assad's regime is loading sarin gas into bombs. and president obama's pot problem. let's go "outfront." i'm tom foreman in for erin burnett. "outfront" tonight, the magic number after a whole week of harsh words here in washington and threats too, did house speaker john boehner hint ever so slightly at a compromise today that could finally edge us away from the dreaded fiscal cliff? it comes down to tax rates. this is a huge sticking point in the stalled negotiations between the president and mr. boehner. obama says the top rate on household income above $250,000 should rise from 35% to 39.6%. boehner wants the rate to stay at 35% or even lower. but what about meeting in the middle?
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around 37%? listen carefully to the speaker when he was asked today whether that rate could be the answer to this impasse. >> there are a lot of things that are possible. to put the revenue the president seeks on the table. but none of it's going to be possible if the president insists on his position. insists on my way or the highway. >> you hear what he said? a lot of things are possible. that may not sound like much where you're from, but here in washington, it sounds suspiciously like code for we're making progress. more evidence boehner's democratic counterpart house minority leader nancy pelosi also seems to be softening her language as we head into the weekend. listen. >> what we want to do is protect the middle class. so it's not about the rate. it's about the money. >> so is 37 the magic number in this fiscal cliff debate? "outfront," two men who know taxes very well.
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douglas holtz-ekin, president of the american action forum and robert reich from the university of california and berkeley and former secretary under bill clinton. douglas, does this sound like code for a deal in the works? >> it certainly is good news that they aren't taking things off the table. i would be premature if i was celebrating a deal. there's a long way to go. it's important that they reach an agreement. the fiscal cliff is a very real danger to the united states economy. it's a recipe for a recession. and i certainly would not like to see the rhetoric that we saw from the treasury secretary tim geithner who said he's prepared to go over the fiscal cliff. that is not a good way to talk about what's going on right now. >> mr. reich, let me ask you the same thing. do you think there's code suggesting they are working towards something? because, doug, as you point out, the language was really harsh during this week. but all of a sudden, here we are friday evening and people are saying these kind of soft things that say maybe compromise. what do you think, robert?
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>> i think doug is right. it's too early to break out the champagne, but undoubtedly, the rhetoric is softening as we get closer and closer to the christmas holidays. these people want to go home. they want to have a holiday. they know that they cannot go home to their constituents and say essentially, i couldn't get anywhere. we're going to go over the fiscal cliff together. and that's particularly true and particularly difficult for republicans because the way the polls are showing the public's anger with this process, the republicans are going to get most of that anger. and they are the same polls that in fact, the gop is listening to and watching, and boehner is very, very much aware of them. so i think that 37% may be the way things come out. >> let's talk about those polls for a minute. quinnipiac had a poll out that showed the president's job approval rating at 53%. that's not really giant or amazing, but, considering where he's been, not too long ago, that is pretty good.
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robert, is this the kind of compromise that could give everyone some cover here? the president can say, yeah, i got higher taxes on the wealthy. the republicans can say, yeah, we gave in, but not much. >> yes, it could. i think -- if it is 37%, a lot of democrats will grumble, wait a minute. we thought that the bush tax cuts would expire. what was so bad about the 39.6% highest rate under bill clinton? the economy was pretty good under bill clinton and that grumbling from democrats, i think, will be helpful to, ironically, republicans because a lot of republicans on the right are going to be saying to boehner, we had pledged to grover norquist no tax increase at all and here you are agreeing to what is effectively a tax increase. and i think that both sides are going to have to give a little bit of something, and that 37% may be the golden median. >> doug, let's talk about the unemployment report that came out today. it shows 7.7% unemployment. you know, i know a lot of democrats want to say, oh, it's dropping, but it seems to me for months and months and months,
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the unemployment numbers have just remained awful. they move a little up and down, but they're just a mess. 12 million people unemployed. it seems to me that that could cut either way. republicans could still lean on that and say, you may be winning the pr war on this thing right now, but don't forget, you've got a big problem out there that you'll need our help on. >> i think there are three important things going on. the employment report was not strong. despite the top line number going down to 7.7%. the reason it fell is that another 350,000 people gave up looking entirely and left the labor force. that's not a good news story. on exactly the same day, we saw consumer confidence plummet. for months now, the households have been the good news part of the economy. business confidence is low. it's had negative investment. we're worried about them stopping hiring. for households to get this nervous in december is a bad sign. and that leads you back to the negotiations over the fiscal cliff. and i think this raises the pressure to get a deal done. that's important.
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and the part of the deal that is actually not being talked about, but which will be central, is the spending side. the sequester is a very bad policy. both sides agree it needs to go away. they have to figure out how. and the tax side has to be matched by entitlement reforms, and you can pick 37 if you have the right entitlement reforms, but only 36 if you have less and you could get 38 if you have more. there's a lot of work left to be done. >> let's talk about that, robert. on the spending side. do you think that there's any way the democrats get out of this over the next 18 or 24 months without really addressing spending and probably annoying a lot of their base in the process? >> well, the president has already put a lot of spending cuts on the table. let me partially agree with doug. the employment report today was, although it looked pretty encouraging if you look at the numbers underneath the numbers, it was not all that encouraging. the labor force participation rate, the percentage of people who are in the labor force who are actually in jobs is actually still very, very low.
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and i'm very worried about it. but by -- but that worry leads to a very different conclusion from doug's conclusion. i worry that we are going to do too much deficit reduction. too much spending cuts. when the private sector, when businesses and consumers are not spending, what we need is for government to be the spender of last resort. we don't want to go into major spending cuts. that's the austerity trap that europe has found itself in, and it would be crazy for us to go in that direction. >> before we go, very quickly, yes or no. do we have a deal by the end of the year? >> yes. >> and what about you, doug? >> marginally, yes. 60/40 in favor of a deal but they've got to get moving. >> we'll have to see if it's a real deal or another kick of the can down the road or some other interim thing. thanks for being here. "outfront" next, the u.s. military draws up new plans for a potential strike against syria as we learn more about that country's stockpile of chemical weapons. plus -- the u.s. supreme court agrees to take on the issue of gay marriage.
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and is that a signal, is that a signal that for republicans, it may be time to reconsider its view on this? and a nurse duped by a prank call leaking information about the duchess of cambridge is found dead. all of that coming up. [ nyquil bottle ] you know i relieve coughs, sneezing, fevers... [ tylenol bottle ] me too! and nasal co [ tissue box ] he said nasal congestion. yeah...i heard him. [ female announcer ] tylenol® cold multi-symptom nighttime relieves nasal congestion. nyquil® cold and flu doesn't.
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our second story "outfront" a possible tipping point in syria with war or something a lot like it in the balance. cnn has learned that the u.s. military is updating its options daily for a potential strike against syria. this in response to intelligence that shows the assad regime has filled bombs with deadly chemical weapons. syria has one of the most sophisticated stockpiles of chemical weapons in the region, including mustard gas, sarin and intelligence agents think vx nerve agent. president obama has said the movement or use of chemical weapons by syria could lead to u.s. intervention. "outfront" tonight, national security contributor fran townsend who is on the cia and homeland security external advisory board and noah shachtman. noah, what do we think is going on right now? at what point are they in this process? >> so the assad regime has
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hundreds of metric tons of the building blocks of sarin. basically two big building blocks. there's isopropanol which is rubbing alcohol and phosphorous compounds. those are kept separately in order to keep things safe. but the assad regime in small, limited quantities appears to have combined those two chemicals to make deadly sarin nerve agent and has loaded them on to aerial bombs. >> if that is true, fran, it's a very provocative thing. is it provocative enough that the u.s. now has to consider action? >> well, you know, the administration has not made it clear. what the president has said is that the use of such weapons would be a red line for the united states and her allies. but it's not clear, short of use, is this preparation, is the mixing of the precursor chemicals enough? as noah can tell you this is a very unstable substance, sarin gas. once it's mixed, it can be very corrosive.
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it's not clear, you know, there could be an inadvertent release because of the volatility of these chemicals. >> this is one of those things that even those who work with them often end up dying simply by trying to work with them. here's the other thing, noah. the delivery systems for these are many and varied. these can be fired in artillery shells, dropped from airplanes. fired on missiles. it seems like once the weapon is ready, there are an awful lot of ways it could reach the point fran just made reference to that the white house made reference to of it being used and fast. >> yeah, and actually, an even worse possibility might be it not used fast. that it might sit around and one of the more extremist groups that are part of the rebel coalition might get their hands on this stuff. so -- >> that is -- you bring up a very good point there, noah. that's one of the concerns, fran, that's been around for a long time, that in instable region if you have problems out there, this is exactly what could happen. >> that's right, tom. everybody has been talking about hoping to see the fall of the assad regime.
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the problem is once assad goes, you don't know who is going to be in control of these weapons. will it be the remaining assad, pro-assad military? will be it the rebel and opposition groups? do they have the capability? and absolutely worse is the extremist elements. we've seen a growing presence of al qaeda and other extremist groups inside syria, including al qaeda from iraq. so there are many very frightening possibilities, which is why i think our barbara starr has been talking about the u.s. military has -- is relooking at their plans for securing the chemical weapon sites of which we understand there are in the neighborhood of four dozen. >> yeah, and, noah, how much do you think there is confidence that we know what really is going on, and how widespread this stuff is? because you're right. in the chaos of a cataclysm over there if it comes down the final battle, it seems to me we could have a very similar circumstance to what we had in iraq and afghanistan where we just don't know where things went.
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>> yeah, i think there's a fair degree of confidence right now about where this precursor mixing activity happens. but if things get really chaotic, i think all bets are off. the u.s. military has floated a number of estimates for how many people it would take to secure these sites. let's say they're overestimating by a factor of ten. they say it's 75,000. let's say they're exaggerating and only 7,500 people. that's still a tremendous amount of people to secure dozens and dozens of sites. >> one last question for you, fran. clearly in this country there's a lot of war fatigue and an awful lot of people, democratic and republican, very hesitant about the u.s. sticking their foot into something else unless it's really dire. do you think that's what it's going to take for the u.s. to get involved over there, something really profound? >> i think there should be no mistake. the one thing the entire world and international community agree on is the use of a chemical such as sarin gas is dire. that's why you see the secretary of state traveling to the region next week to try and build a
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coalition and agreement around the seriousness of the current threat there. >> fran, noah, thanks for being here with us. we'll keep an eye on that situation and keep you updated. our third story "outfront," somewhat better than expected jobs numbers and some good news in terms of the holidays. one-third of the jobs created were in retail. here's the rub. there is a monster company that is threatening to devour a massive number of traditional retail jobs. ♪ america's holiday mall mania is as traditional as tinsel. consumers spending more than $500 billion this year will fuel more than 500,000 seasonal jobs. but the real frenzy is at home where online shopping is exploding under the relentless hand of one company -- amazon.com. what is amazon up to?
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>> well, the ambition, it seems is to take over the systems of consumption. >> reporter: barney jopson, reporter for the "financial times," has just written a book about amazon's extraordinary rise. >> amazon sales have been growing at about 20% or 30% a year. and this is phenomenal if you consider that the rest of the retail sector is growing, at best, at 5% a year. there is competition, but amazon is really the 800-pound gorilla. it's got a big head start on everyone else, and size generates some momentum of its own. >> reporter: how much momentum? so much that amazon had a hand in more than 20% of all online sales for 2011, according to forester research. so much that economic analysts say traditional brick and mortar stores like walmart, radio shack and barnes & noble are scrambling to hold on to customers. >> here in the u.s., we've seen circuit city, the electronics
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store, borders, the bookstore, go out of business. largely because of competition with amazon. >> reporter: based in seattle, amazon was started in the mid-'90s to sell books online. and for years made no profit. but it soon became clear that founder jeff bezos and his notoriously secretive company had bigger plans. they started expanding in the late 1990s into videos, music, games, electronics, kitchenware, clothing, shoes, jewelry, business services, information storage. amazon turned the corner to profitability in 2002, and today, amazon is a $100 billion global company. and though bezos declined our request for an interview, he recently told "fortune" magazine's andy serwer -- >> our goal is to be the most customer obsessed company. is there someone doing some element better than we? if so, how do we improve? >> online shopping is still only 10% of total retail.
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>> reporter: meaning amazon in all likelihood is just getting started. ben stein told me recently he has never seen a company dominate a market quite the way amazon is right now. this is a huge, huge story this holiday season. the big question, of course, is, what's going to happen to all the jobs that go in the traditional brick and mortar stores? we don't really know. will they go away? will there be more of them? find out more of those answers this weekend as we take an even deeper look into this extraordinary rise of amazon on "in focus." and a lot of other stories, too. saturday at 2:30 eastern and sunday at 4:30. join me. make sure you don't miss it. "outfront" next, the supreme court will tackle the issue of same-sex marriage. is it time for the gop to change its stance on the issue? plus -- who is black in america? it's the title of a new eye-opening documentary from soledad o'brien. she joins us with a preview and explains how that question can be very tricky.
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welcome back to the second half of "outfront." we start the second half with
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stories we care about, where we focus on our own reporting from the front lines out there. in egypt today, protesters stormed the presidential palace in cairo enraged by president mohamed morsi's power grab. thousands broke through a barrier before throwing rocks and bottles at morsi's home. they also spray painted graffiti on the palace walls. morsi sparked new outrage yesterday after he refused to back off his controversial plan to expand his presidential powers which give him immunity from judicial oversight. a small victory for john mcafee today after he took his fight to stay in guatemala to the country's highest court. mcafee's attorney tells martin savidge a judge granted a stay today that allows him to remain in the country until his immigration case can be heard in court. his attorney says that could take a month or more. the software pioneer has been fighting deportation to belize where he is wanted for questioning in the shooting death of his neighbor there. george zimmerman's lawyers filed several new motions today. among them, his legal team wants
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his gps monitoring removed. zimmerman who is charged with the murder of trayvon martin has been electronically monitored since april. his attorneys also requested the state to hand over documents related to the case, such as an interview with martin's girlfriend who was on the phone with the teenager right before he was killed. zimmerman has claimed he acted in self-defense. the motions will be heard during a hearing set for tuesday. an independent review of the deadly september 11th attack in libya is set to be released. in a letter to colleagues on the senate foreign relations committee today, senator john kerry indicated the report will be done soon. the letter also says secretary of state hillary clinton will testify before the committee before the end of the year about the report's findings. however, we're told a date has not yet been set for that. during the assault, four americans, including ambassador christopher stevens, died when a group of terrorists attacked the u.s. mission in libya. it has been 491 days since the u.s. lost its top credit rating. what are we doing get it back? president obama asked congress for $60 billion for states
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affected by superstorm sandy. the request comes at a time when lawmakers are arguing how every dollar is spent. our fourth story "outfront," an historic announcement. the supreme court decided today it will hear two constitutional challenges to same-sex marriage laws. if the court were to follow public opinion, the decision could come down in favor of gay and lesbian couples. recent polling shows 53% of americans think same-sex marriage should be legal. 46% say illegal. and on election day, voters in three states approved same-sex marriage. "outfront," mckay coppins, tim carney and maria cardona, cnn contributor and democratic strategist. this is kind of big news in all of this. tim, you saw the polls. now the supreme court will get involved in this. should this signal something to the republican party? should they say it's reached this level, we need to rethink our position on this? >> polls are one thing. there's also the fact most states don't have gay marriage
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yet and most of those that do, it was not put in by the will of the people. i'm a marylander. we did -- our state did vote for gay marriage. most of them had to do with judges ruling. if the supreme court does for gay marriage what it did for abortion and roe v. wade and said, no, this is not in the hands of the people. we're going to say there's gay marriage, that would do a lot to fire up the republican base and could turn this issue on its head and it could become a big winner for republicans because they'd feel disenfranchised. >> what about the flip side? what if the republican goes that way, their base doesn't get fired up. democrats have relied on saying to some voters, that other party is not with you. if the republican got with them, does that take this off the table for democrats? >> well, i actually think it takes it off the table and that's good news for americans in general. mean, i think this issue is a little bit broader than politics. and i know that's weird to say here in washington, but what i think the problem with the stance that the republican party has taken right now is that it's on the wrong side of history. and we have seen throughout
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history that when there's a group of people that want to deny another group of people less rights and less privileges that other americans enjoy, you know, whether that's being on the wrong side of slavery, being on the wrong side of civil rights movement. being on the wrong side of giving women the right to vote. being on the wrong side of interracial marriage. at the end of the day, america is moving towards giving gay and lesbians, gay and lesbian americans the same rights to marry that all americans enjoy. and that is where the country is heading. that is a bow that cannot be untied no matter what the republican party does. >> mckay, it looks like the mormon church might also be moving at this point. they've got this new website out, sort of explaining a little more in detail their view on gay marriage and really urging a tremendous amount of tolerance, i think. what are your thoughts on that? >> yeah, this new website is mormons and gays.org. and it represents a pretty significant effort to reach out
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to gay mormons in particular and the broader gay community. you remember in 2008, the mormon church urged its members to get heavily involved in passing proposition 8, which banned gay marriage in california. and ever since then, the relationship between gays and mormons have been very strained. the church has seen itself really be -- come under attack by gay rights advocates. and ever since then, the church has tried to make efforts to kind of extend an olive branch. the most significant news here, with this new website, is that it included a statement where for the first time in kind of the most clear it's ever been, the church acknowledges that sexuality is not a choice. it says that gay people do not choose to be gay. and that's significant. the church is not changing its position in terms of what it calls a gay lifestyle. >> i'm going to bring that up because there's a -- let me bring that up. there's a statement on that site
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that also says the experience of same-sex attraction is a complex reality for many people. the attraction itself is not a sin, but acting on it is. tim, when you see something like that, it seems -- it seems to me, there's a little bit of threading the needle here in they are saying in effect, you know, it's like many evangelicals will say, hate the sin, love the sinner. >> it's catholic teaching that everybody -- and i'm a catholic and i know that everybody is created in the image of god. and one of the problems of the anti-gay marriage movement is that some of it has been based in bigotry and hating gay people or hating people for their attractions. the catholic teaching and much of the christian teaching is saying this isn't about who you are or what your proclivities are. it has to do with certain behaviors. that would be an advance if we spoke about it more on that front instead of people talking about, identity because then that is what draws it into bigotry.
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>> maria, what if the supreme court comes back and says no, we're not going to uphold this idea of gay marriage laws being -- or any law against them being wrong or that gay marriage laws are necessarily right. this is a political question. since the supreme court sided with health care, many people at times said, it's going to be very hard for democrats to then criticize the court if it comes out on a social issue like this against democratic interest. what do you think? >> i don't think it would be hard for democrats to criticize it because, again, i do think that this has more to do than just democratic interests. this -- >> i'm talking -- let me change the question. not about -- let me change the question. not about criticizing the decision itself. >> okay. >> but criticizing the court. that it would have to say -- the notion being the democrats might have to say, we recognize the court in its wisdom. we respect the court. we just disagree, which is a fine point because sometimes people don't do that. >> sure. i think there's a fine line there. but i think that democrats and rights activists can be very
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clear if the supreme court comes down on the side of not giving gays and lesbians the same rights that other americans have to marry that they would be wrong because they would be wrong. they would be on the wrong side of history. >> there's different questions here. the question isn't will the supreme court rule for gay marriage or against. will the supreme court take it out of the hands of the people? in other words, in california, the people voted and said they opposed it. we've got three different things. will they say you can't have gay marriage? will they say it's up to the states or will they say you have to have gay marriage. >> they could also say that all of these other groups don't even have standing to bring this to the court. and not even deal with -- >> let me have you jump in here, mckay, if you would, because president obama himself has suggested at times in the past that he thinks this is sort of up to the states. it seems like in a lot of ways he doesn't really believe that, but he's suggested that. again, yes, there's an evolution, as maria suggests. it's happening in this country. but evolution takes time. and the notion that people may
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say six months from now it will all be settled, i'm not so convinced of that. are you? >> no, yeah, you're absolutely right. this is going to take probably generations for it to get settled. and also remember that president obama in 2008 when he still opposed same-sex marriage cited religious reasons. and i've never heard president obama fully explain his religious rational and the evolution he went through in those terms. but i think that churches like the mormon church, the catholic church, other churches are going to play a big role here in helping, you know, the country come to reconciliation as far as, you know, what they think about this issue. so that's an important thing to watch. not just the court battles. >> and also maybe a governor on the engine that keeps it going forward but at a very slow pace. tim, maria, mckay, appreciate it. recent celebrations over legalized marijuana in washington and colorado may prove to be short lived. the obama administration is signaling it may step in and actively enforce federal drug laws which still outlaw smoking marijuana.
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and that could create a very tricky political balancing act for president obama himself. john avlon is "outfront" on this story right now. this is a tightrope for the president, john. >> it is. it's fascinating. a brand new quinnipiac poll illustrates what a tough situation this is. for the first time, a narrow majority of americans, 51%, support legalizing marijuana. but here's where it gets politically interesting. when you break it down by party i.d., 58% of democrats and independents support legalizing marijuana. clear majority. only 31% of republicans do, however. so it's a fascinating shift where liberals and independents are saying, look. states rights at least on this issue. more individual liberty. and republicans are being more traditionalist about their attitudes. final point, this poll makes very clear it's a generational shift. just a second ago you were talking about the evolution of this issue of same-sex marriage. same thing with marijuana legalization. clear majorities of americans under age 44 supporting legalization.
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only 35%, however, of senior citizens supporting marijuana legalization. so a generational trend that is fueling this debate. >> let me ask you a practical question. here's a statement from the u.s. attorney in seattle. he put this out wednesday, the day before the law took effect in washington state. he said regardless of any changes in state law, including the change that will go into effect on december 6th in washington state, growing, selling or possessing any amount of marijuana remains illegal under federal law. that's what the u.s. attorney in seattle said. how are they going to enforce this because, you know, like the seattle police basically saying, we're not going to get involved with that, or at least hinting they won't. how would the feds do anything about this? >> this is a huge conflict on the horizon. the justice department reasserting that federal law supersedes state law and the controlled substances act law is still in effect. that lists marijuana as a schedule 1 narcotic, along with heroin, cocaine and lsd. they are saying congress decided
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this in 1970. it's out of our hands. we, the obama administration, the justice department, have an obligation to enforce the law as it stands, and that right now is in direct conflict with two states, washington and colorado. let alone with the states that have medical marijuana in place which is over 18. because one of the criteria for being a schedule 1 narcotic is that there's no medical use demonstrated. so that is a fascinating conflict between the feds and states rights. people voting in these states increasingly to legalize at least medical marijuana. >> is there any sort of spillover effect you can see here on to other laws like immigration issues or gay marriage or anything else like that because i would think that the white house would not want to be seen as picking and choosing where it decides the federal government is supposed to be in charge. >> you are right. but again, we're seeing a generational shift on many, very contentious culture war issues. in the last segment, same-sex marriage. a generational shift being fought on a state by state level.
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the marijuana legalization, that same generational shift. it's up to the federal government to reconcile and the president, for example, on same-sex marriage, supports states rights. here, too, there's a contradiction. it's one of the things that to reconcile this that maybe the courts or congress can do is to actually address the fact that schedule 1 narcotics do -- in this case, may have medical use. at least 18 states have done so. and members of congress like gerald polis from colorado, we called him "outfront" on this issue pushing him saying the justice department has an obligation to try to say enforcement against individuals in these states will not be a number one priority. so there's so many contradictions. it's one of the reasons this is a fascinating, still evolving issue. fundamental contradiction between states rights and the federal government with president obama at the helm. >> john avlon, always great to see you. the united states military prepares to potentially shoot down a rocket that north korea plans to launch any day now. plus -- she was the victim of a prank call to the hospital caring for the duchess of cambridge. now that nurse has been found dead.
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we're back with tonight's "outer circle" where we reach out to our sources all over the world.
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to seoul where the navy is get ing ready to react to an expected missile launch by north korea this month. paula hancocks is following this story. i asked her what more we know about north korea's plans. >> tom, as north korea prepares to launch its second rocket this year, as early as monday, the u.s. is making preparations of its own. the navy is moving two guided missile destroyers to the region, although they're not saying exactly where. pyongyang says they are trying to send a working satellite into orbit. but the u.s. and other countries simply don't believe that. they believe that this is a cover for testing the long-range missile technology, which is banned by the united nations. one senior government official here in seoul tells me that a motivation behind this rocket launch may also be domestic instability. the source says that kim jong-un's rule may not be as secure as previously thought. and this kind of rocket launch could deflect any attention from that. tom? >> as you may recall, the last launch there did not go very
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well at all. next to gaza city, where after 45 years in exile, one of the founders of hamas, khalid meshaal, made a historic return today. the pomp and circumstance surrounding his visit underscored the organization's powerful influence among palestinians. cnn's fred pleitgen was there. >> reporter: he received a triumphal welcome when he entered gaza. tens of thousands of hamas fighters lined the street wearing ski masks and combat fatigues and flashing their weapons, including ak-47s and rocket-propelled grenades. the official reason why meshaal is here after never having been in gaza before is the 25th anniversary of the founding of hamas which the united states considers to be a terrorist organization. one thing you hear on every street corner is hamas is saying they are declaring victory against israel after the armed conflict that happened here about two years ago. now many here in gaza hail meshaal as an important figure.
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there are many in the u.s. and israel as well who say that this man is a very dangerous terrorist to -- who until this day does not acknowledge israel's right to exist, tom. >> thank you very much, fred. our fifth story, tragedy in london. a nurse at the hospital that treated the duchess of cambridge earlier this week is dead after an apparent suicide. this comes just three days after the nurse was duped by a prank call by two australian radio hosts who claimed to be queen elizabeth and prince charles. the nurse, identified as jacintha saldanha took the hoax call and transferred it through to katherine's ward. cnn's max foster is in london tonight with the latest. what's going on here? what do we know about this nurse at this point? >> reporter: very little apart from very, very good words spoken about her from pretty much everyone. she was a very, very good nurse. she was the mother of two children. she had a husband.
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they luckily weren't in london at the time of this death. but to give you a sense of how people feel and how well regarded she was, this is her boss speaking earlier on. >> we can confirm that jacintha was recently the victim of a hoax call to the hospital. the hospital had been supporting her through this very difficult time. jacintha was a first class nurse who cared diligently for hundreds of patients during her time with us. >> reporter: this is such a strange -- >> she was very well regarded, tom. and we -- >> i was just going to say, this is such a strange and sad story, max. and she clearly was well regarded. what about the royal family? are they saying anything? >> reporter: well, they were quick to respond. they put out a statement expressing their sadness and how everyone here at the hospital was great when kate was in hospital. then they added another line because there were lots of rumors swirling around the story.
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they said at no point did the palace complain to the hospital about the incident. on the contrary, we offered our full and heartfelt support to the nurses involved and hospital staff at all times. so they never complained about this despite it being a big invasion of privacy, personal patient confidential information was given out by the nurse as a result of this call being put through. they say they never complained so it's a complete tragedy. >> these radio hosts i understand have been pulled off the air. what's the radio station saying about them at this point? >> reporter: well, the radio station is saying they pulled themselves off air. they're certainly coming under some degree of attack. the australian media now reporting negatively, having initially made it out to be all a joke and also social media really attacking. if you have a look at their facebook page, extraordinary things being said. the typical thing we're hearing is "blood on their hands" so they are really getting the brunt of the emotion linked to this story.
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>> such a strange and sad story. max, thanks for keeping us up to date on it. "outfront" next, what it means to be black in america. try running four.ning a restaurant is hard, fortunately we've got ink. it gives us 5x the rewards on our internet, phone charges and cable, plus at office supply stores. rewards we put right back into our business. this is the only thing we've ever wanted to do and ink helps us do it.
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so all you notice is relief. aspercreme. we all know the topic of race in america can be a thorny issue, but it's one soledad o'brien continues to explore. her new documentary is called "who is black in america" and takes a provocative look at the issue of color. soledad talks to 17-year-old nya jones, raised by a white father and teased about her light skin color by her black classmates. >> they always called me white girl. i was never ashamed of myself until they taught me to be ashamed. >> soledad o'brien is "outfront" tonight with more on her documentary which airs here on cnn this sunday at 8:00 p.m. eastern. you don't want to miss it. soledad, this is something i've been aware of for a long time. people in the black community told me for many, many years that within the community, there's a struggle over who's black, who's too black, who is not black enough.
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how does a child like nya deal with this? >> it happens outside the community as well. many people outside the community like to weigh in and say you don't look that way to me. because she's mixed race, she is trying to figure out her identity. you heard her reciting a poem. she feels very confused about her identity. her dad's white, she says i don't know how to be black. i don't know what it means to be black because everybody around me is white. meanwhile, her best friend is a brown girl whose parents are from africa but they are from egypt and so people tell her well, you know, you're not really black. you're african but not really african-american. both these girls are grappling with what it means to be brown skinned and who is really black in america today. >> this is a personal topic for you. it's part of your interest in all this. at what point did you realize, not to be indiscreet here, that your color changed the way people perceived you? >> early on. i grew up in an all white neighborhood in long island, so people made it very clear that
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our family didn't quite fit in. i have a similar background to nya's. my mom is black, my dad is white but my parents were very direct about our identity. for my five brothers and sisters and me. we're black. my mother is cuban so we're latino. for us it's a very different situation than for a lot of young people today. growing number of young people are mixed race and they're trying to work out their identity, and it's really tough for some of them. >> i know from the census department that the group of mixed race people is the fastest growing group out in this country right now in terms of percentage. your show hasn't even debuted yet but is already causing a big stir out on twitter. tell us about that. >> oh, yeah. well, it's twitter which means everybody weighs in and we're hearing a lot of really interesting stories about people's own take, whether they're white or black or mixed or whatever. then we also have people who are incredibly hostile who want to weigh in if we should be doing this at all. i like to hop back in and fight right back. that's the way it works on twitter. >> thank you soledad. again, "who is black in america"
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